Fri, Nov


FORMER SAN Juan Jabloteh and Central FC coach Terry Fenwick has laid out the attributes he believes this country’s next national football coach should possess to get the 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign on track after two consecutive losses.

The TT job is currently vacant after Stephen Hart was dismissed by the TT Football Association (TTFA) last Thursday.

And Fenwick, the ex-England defender and current Flow Sports channel football analyst, made it abundantly clear in a telephone interview yesterday that he is the most suitable individual to take up the job as TT team tactician. 

Hart was fired after a string of inconsistent returns this year, including defeats in their first two matches (2-0 at home to Costa Rica and 3-1 away to Honduras earlier this month) of the 2018 FIFA World Cup CONCACAF Zone Final Round qualifiers. 

Fenwick noted, that with the CONCACAF Gold Cup playoffs scheduled for January (here in Trinidad) plus the pair of World Cup qualifiers in March, it may be tough for a foreign coach to get acquainted with the national players in a short space of time.

“I’m the most qualified person to take that on,” he said. “At the late stage where we’re at, an international coach trying to find out about (our) players (is) impossible. 

Our players are dotted all over Europe, North America and locally. 

An international coach coming in that is not familiar with our players have got no chance in putting that together before the World Cup qualifiers come across again in March.” As far as the TT coaching job is concerned, Fenwick said, “it’s a very difficult position for the TT FA because I provide for them a totally different proposition. Their issue would be how to deal with my success.” The 57-year-old Fenwick guided Jabloteh to Pro League titles in 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008 while, with Central FC, he led the team (in the latter stages of the season) to the 2014-15 league trophy. 

“Everything I get involved in, I succeed in,” Fenwick insisted. 

“With all due respect to other people within the Caribbean region, there is nobody more qualified than I to run the national team.” He continued, “I’ve been here 17 years now. Multiple players have come through my development that are now national team players. Multiple players have come through me that have gone out to enjoy international contracts and football scholarships in the United States. I know CONCACAF very well. 

“I am very flexible with my coaching, which is my biggest attribute,” added the former Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur player. “I’m an excellent coach. 

“I’ll love to have the opportunity where I believe I’m the only Pro League coach that’s never been offered a position, at any level, by the TT FA.” Concerning the dismissal of Hart, Fenwick noted, “Stephen has done a relatively good job under very difficult circumstances. 

He’s gone several months without being paid, he’s worked through two different administrations. 

Clearly the last administration and him have not particularly gone on well. 

“However, with two years remaining on his contract, which is my understanding, there might have been position for Stephen to continue in a technical director-type position, where he could still contribute to TT football. 

It’s my opinion.” There were instances of indiscipline in the TT team recently, notably the fines inflicted on Kevin Molino, Joevin Jones and Mekeil Williams for breaking curfew, while Molino was suspended for the Costa Rica and Honduras game for an additional breach of curfew. Fenwick is renowned as a hard taskmaster and it’s a reputation he is proud of. 

“The good and the bad about Terry Fenwick is that I am well familiar with the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. However, I’m not a part of that culture. 

I come from the UK, I come from a very professional upbringing in British professional football.” He continued, “I understand the problems and issues coaches have down here. Players would understand nobody more than me, in terms of turning up at a fete match or a minor league game to find out what players are doing. And I’ve always dealt with it very promptly and professionally. 

“It’s something that is part of the people’s culture here in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Knowing that culture, I’ve handled it very well over the 17 years that I’ve been here.

And, really, I’ve not had any major problems with the players I have had, only because I’ve set my stall out early to ensure they are very clear that there (are) no negotiations.”